Wednesday, 28 April 2010

5 Hours, 34 Minutes and 22 Seconds

Most of the week before the marathon was spent wondering which part of Europe Brogan was in. When he was back in Blighty, the worrying shifted to the weather. The forecast was for a very very hot day. As far as the weather goes: I am really good at the cold. I barely feel it, but I'm not a fan hot weather. Marathon or no marathon.

We arrived at the start with about an hour to spare as soon as we had handed in our kitbags and excess clothing it started to rain. Had we been running it would have been fine, but we were standing around waiting for the race to start and watching each other shiver.

We made our way to what are inauspiciously refered to as 'pens'. Despite the three of us having consecutive numbers it transpired that Brogan was to be in Pen 8 while Mark and I were supposed to be in Pen 9. In the mass of people it seemed unlikely that if we didn't start together that we would be able to find each other. So we waited for a distraction and bluffed our way into Pen 8.

It stopped raining and the race started. The inhabitants of Pen 8 shuffled forward as the 10,000 or so people ahead of us made their way across the starting line. It took us about twenty minutes to get there and then we were running. A marathon.

We started with a comfortable pace and the first thirteen miles flew by. All of a sudden we turned a corner and tower bridge loomed into view. It's true what they say about ignorance, it really is bliss. My lack of geographical knowledge in London had never served me better than the surprises it afforded me on the marathon route. We crossed the bridge and as you turn right you begin seeing runners coming towards you. Faster runners who are closer to finishing than you are. We also started seeing people we knew. Brogan's family and friends were there and tellingly mine weren't. Neither of these things helped my state of mind.

The next five miles or so were much tougher, but when I saw my family at 20 miles it made a huge difference. Brogan asked if I wanted to stop, but I wasn't sure if I stopped whether I'd be able to get started again. The sight of my mother, father and cousin running along the side of the road kept me going. And then they kept cropping up, we saw them at 22 miles and again at 25. They must have been running faster than we were.

I was definitely running slower and slower, and at one point I was overtaken by somebody walking. I couldn't run any faster, Brogan was struggling to get into a rhythm without getting faster and Mark was sort of running about in between. The two of them would regularly have to slow down to let me catch up which can't have done either of them any favours. For the most part Mark was in the best form with an army of friends cheering him on and women throwing themselves at him.

The crowd were great and having our names printed on our shirts definitely helped. There came a point that I thought if I heard one more complete stranger read my name aloud encouragingly that the lump in my throat might it's way out. Minutes later I was crying like a baby.

The last five miles or so alternated between being alright and being really difficult. The last mile was agony, we slowed right down in order to keep something in the tank for the finish. We crossed the finish line together with a time of 05:34:22.

Just passed the finish line an official looking bloke stopped us and asked "Do you want the good news or the bad news?", Mark asked him for the bad and he said "False start. But the good news is we're doing it all again in five minutes time."

I definitely wouldn't have gotten through it if it wasn't for Brogan and Mark, of course I wouldn't have gotten into it in the first place if it wasn't for Brogan and Mark so they have a lot to answer for.

The commonest question afterwards was "Would you do it again?"


Well now it's over, done, finished. All the more reason to sponsor us.

Total mileage = 127 miles
Total sponsorship to date = £1,691.80

Sunday, 25 April 2010


It's today. Brogan's back and we are all systems go.

Should you wish to come along and watch (or should you wish to avoid it) this is what Transport For London suggest. Failing that, it's on BBC2 from 8:30 and BBC1 from 10:00 in the am.

Whether you decide to watch or not, you can still sponsor us.

Wednesday, 21 April 2010

Running Raiment

None of the suggestions we receved for marathon costumes quite took off, so it looks as though we'll be running as...runners. That may disappoint, but we're currently far more concerned with whether Brogan, currently trapped in Europe by a cloud of volcanic ash, will be able to be back in time to run.

So here by way of a distraction, here is a list of all the suggestions we were sent:

Doublet, Hose and a towelling Ruff. A practical suggestion here from Garry Collier:

In light of the marathon's sponsor Anne Howells proposed air hostesses:

or virgins:

Carrie Parsons thinks that the Red Dwarf posse is the way to go:

Anthony Quinn wants us to don chainmail, if only to slow Brogan down:

Martin Carr's idea was to dress as Greek Gods:

Dean Bavage suggested sixties Star Trek uniforms:

Jean & Jon Miles' submission was Doctor Who, which offers up several costume alternatives, and since Tanya Jones mentioned tweed, this is probably what they all meant:

Lizzy Suffling suggested we dress as Royston Vasey locals from The League Of Gentlemen:

Top hats and tails was Verity Clayton's idea of eye-catching running wear:

This post seemed like such a good idea when I started compiling it, but I have to admit I had my doubts when I saw some of the results on Google image search for 'Greek gods' or 'virgins'. They are probably not safe for work.

If you want to make a suggestion you need to be quick and more importantly you need to sponsor us.

Total mileage to date = 101 miles
Total sponsorship to date = £1,265.30

Sunday, 18 April 2010

The Threepeny Opera

Because everyone on the university course came from such different backgrounds, the first year was clearly designed to get us all on the same page. Where Three Sisters had been intended to be our exposure to Stanislavski's theories, The Threepenny Opera was supposed to do the same for Brechtian theatre.

It didn't really work.

The cast was split across two different classes and the director struggled with remembering who had done what. The other group did animal studies twice and we didn't do it all.

She accused an actress of having mental issues. She chose to do so at full volume and in front of fifteen other people. It's difficult not to find that uncomfortable, but that wasn't quite the verfremdungseffekt Brecht intended.

She also felt that we weren't getting enough rehearsal time and so organised extra rehearsals at her home. Her directions were appalling and several people ended up at her neighbour's house instead. Her neighbour was Kate Moss.

I played Tiger Brown. I have almost no memory of the show itself, besides pulling horrific faces while singing 'The Cannon Song'.

Thursday, 15 April 2010


Everyone running the London Marathon is sent red laces to raise awareness for the cholesterol charity, Heart UK. They are the 'must have' fashion item of the marathon. Those without red laces will have red faces instead. Maybe.



Do you feel more aware?

Sponsor us.

Total mileage to date = 101 miles
Total sponsorship to date = £1155.30

Monday, 12 April 2010

Wyrd Sisters

Back when London Metropolitan University was still a twinkle in an archchancellor's eye. Our half of the merger waiting to happen, the University of North London was languishing without a drama society. During our first year somebody started one and as their first effort they chose to stage Stephen Brigg's adaptation of Terry Pratchett's Wyrd Sisters.

"Actors," said Granny, witheringly. "As if the world weren't full of enough history without inventing more."

I'm a big fan of the Discworld novels and I was very excited about this choice of play. I can't remember if we auditioned but it was cast from the ranks of our course. I played Tomjon and the voice of the demon.

Tomjon, so good they named him twice, is the true heir to the throne of Lancre who has fallen in with a troupe of actors and missed his destiny. Well one of them anyway.

The demon's name is WxrtHltl-jwlpklz. In the animated version it's pronouced like this. I elected not to try and get the vowel-less moniker right and instead simply made it up every night. It had a tendency to get longer and longer and on the last night ended with Mulholland-Jjones.

The freedom to bully the director allowed us to get away things like that. This freedom extended to the music choices Anna Masing's entrance as Lady Felmet to the Imperial March from Star Wars and Mike Everhard's first appearance as Duke Felmet to the theme from The Magic Roundabout.

In Tomjon's last scene the cue was a guard revealing the ultimate fate of the Duke. Andy Cartwright played the guard and the line was always wildly different. On one night it was death by splinter and on another he said "I can't believe I've just seen that. The Duke's dead. That was such an unlikely death that if someone saw that in a play there's no way they would believe it."

He's a tough act to follow is Andy.

Friday, 9 April 2010

Carruthers Camera #1

Due to its daily nature the Carruthers blog uses up a fair amount of photos and pictures. They are of course mostly stolen from all over the internet, but I've taken a fair few photos for it myself and I thought I'd point out which ones they were here:

I mentioned Broadmarsh Close in a sketch about an estate agent and so when I was next in Grove I felt obligated to take a photo of it. The curtains were twitching so I didn't hang around.

Here is the set for the Peel This show we did at The Space. It was just Three Chairs.

I love how erratic Dings Donged looks. Perfect for a Knock Knock 2008 post.

All Aboard accompanied a sketch Andy wrote about trainspotting.

Pretender To The Throne is not a photograph of mayonnaise, but none-the-less it's attached to a post about a song that Andy and Mike wrote about Mayo. Easily the funniest song about Mayo, ever.

Tuesday, 6 April 2010

Three Sisters

Three Sisters was the first production I was involved with at University. I played Andrei. He has three sisters.

Act One ends with an interrupted kiss between Andrei and his future wife, Natasha. My abiding memory of the production was that the actress playing Natasha in the early scenes evidently found me so repugnant that she begged those doing the interrupting to cut the kiss as short as possible.

They made her wait.

It was also during this show that Mike Everhard successfully made a room full of people laugh hysterically and then feel very, very guilty with his deployment of a comedy stutter. The awesome power of the man is a wonder to behold.

Saturday, 3 April 2010


We are running the marathon for charity, namely The Actors Charitable Trust or TACT.

TACT provides help for the children of actors under the age of 21 with grants, advice and support. The smaller TACT Education Fund awards grants to student children of actors. TACT helps 190 children from around the UK at present. The children either have special educational needs or have a parent who is seriously ill or they are orphaned.

Just as there are benevolent funds for firefighters, nurses and the armed forces, so TACT was set up for actors. TACT was originally founded in 1896 as the less acronymically pleasing The Actors’ Orphanage Fund by Kitty Carson. The first orphanage was at Morland Road, East Croydon, followed by Langley Hall and then Silverlands in Chertsey, with a hostel for older teenagers in Rutland Gate, London. Since mid-1958 TACT has helped children in their own homes.

TACT relies on donations from the public, as well as the generosity of actors who are doing well and legacies from actors who are doing dead. Due to this support they are able to give more than £220,000 a year in grants to children as well as providing full-time advice and support.

Since 1965 TACT has also run Denville Hall, the retirement and nursing home for elderly actors and actresses, including those with dementia. Bought in 1925 by Alfred Denville, impresario, actor-manager and MP. He dedicated the Hall to the acting profession, in memory of his son Jack, who had died at the age of 26 after an injury on stage reactived earlier damage sustained in the World War I. The hall was renamed Denville Hall, and opened fully in 1926. Recently The 1960's wing was demolished and a new wing built with a ground floor designed for those with dementia.

TACT receives no Government funding or statutory support. They have built up an income fund over the decades, and use this towards their work. The donations and legacies from supporters are vital in allowing them to help every actor who approaches them with genuine needs.

Core costs are kept to a minimum. TACT only has two staff and its committee is made up of entirely volunteers. They have no marketing or fundraising staff and they don’t pay any consultants. TACT is registered charity number 206809. The 206,809th registered charity there is.

Hese are some examples of families that TACT help:

A lone parent of two pre-school children battled cancer without support from their father. TACT paid for emergency childcare whenever she was in hospital and helped prevent her eviction from their home. TACT ensured she received the correct state benefits. Against medical prediction the mother has not only survived, but is now able gradually to move to full-time work as her children start school. TACT continues to help with music lessons for the children, until their mother can cope with the cost herself.

A teenager with complex haemophilia has regular bleeds in his joints, not just causing great pain, but leaving him dependent on a wheelchair. TACT’s support has enabled him to keep up with schoolwork and has enabled the extra mobility help needed during the holidays.

A young boy with autism has such challenging behaviour that it has affected his younger sister. His father is profoundly ill. TACT has advised constantly about education, and has supported the daughter with nursery provision and activities to boost her self-confidence.

A teenager who uses a wheelchair has had a monthly allowance from TACT which he uses to organise his own taxis and helpers to maintain his independence without having to have his mother with him all the time.

A father with young children needed childcare when his wife was dying and during the desperate months afterwards. While TACT ensured the state paid as much as possible, we were able to top up the amount so that the children had one person caring for them consistently. We continue to support childcare when it is needed, but the family has stayed together and dad is now working part-time. We have paid for some successful specialist counselling and medical help for one child, when NHS provision was not forthcoming.

You can help TACT carry on their work by sponsoring us.

Total mileage to date = 81 miles
Total sponsorship to date = £894.50